Northwest African perspectives on the concept of the state

Judith Scheele


The state of most current political anthropology tends to be the modern nation-state, and relatively few works address questions posed by other state formations. Focusing on the Moroccan makhzan and the non-state institutional environment in which it operated, this paper argues for a more sustained engagement with alternative traditions of political thought and practice. It does this by drawing on historical ethnography from Morocco and southwestern Algeria, and through a sustained reciprocal comparison with parts of the classic European literature on the concept of the state.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/722386